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Eyes up, heart open

Carla Ten Eyck

Cayman Vows Magazine Shoot

Cover of Cayman Vows Magazine on Seven Mile Beach Grand Cayman
Carla Ten Eyck photographs a model on Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman for Cayman Vows Magazine

 

Asking for something can be really hard. Except for the salt, I can ask for that no problem! This past December marked the 16th Engage Luxury Wedding and Business Summit conference I had attended at the Solaz Luxury Resort in Los Cabos, Mexico. I was on the photography team, and had a ball working the event, as always. I enjoy switching up my role from attendee, to photography team member to photo team leader and also as a four time speaker.

Each experience is different and affords me different opportunities. Enter: The Hard Part. The follow up. The ask. The Hire Me. (sigh) It’s not all easy magic when you attend, work or speak at these events. There is still a big hustle component involved. The stats speak for themselves, who you work with, what have you done to date, the level of your work, etc, of course.

But there is the bigger, harder part. The part where you actually set up that follow up lunch date, or shoot, or visit. The part where you try one another on for size and say, “Hey, could this be a thing?” OK maybe I was stuck in the world of online dating too long, forgive me, but there are some similarities.

This cover shoot for Cayman Vows Magazine came about because I just asked the question, ” How come we have never worked together?” The response: “YOU NEVER ASKED!” Now, she didn’t reply in all caps to my question, I just did that for dramatic effect, but it’s honestly as simple as that. I didn’t ASK. I am happy I did and then, perhaps most importantly, I followed up relentlessly and the stars aligned and here we are!

Flash forward a few weeks to the shoot on Grand Cayman: I chose the cave inspired editorial and did some scouting a few days before my actual shoot date. Lindsay (my friend and assistant for the shoot) and I headed to the bioluminescent kayak trip and had a private tour of the lagoon where this really cool natural magic happens! We really wanted to get something with a model and I felt like I wanted to check things out before and get a handle on what exactly we were dealing with. The images below are Lindsay paddling and me hand holding my camera at a super slow shutter speed in order for us to be able to capture the bioluminescence on camera and see if it would translate or not.

Creative Producer: Angela Desveaux / Wardrobe Stylist: Elizabeth Clark / Art Director: Rebekah Cuff / Photo Assistant: Lindsay DeDario / Production Assistants: Bella Geraghty + Emily Southey / Model: Kathrin Werderitsch 

That bioluminescent thing was definitely not an easy feat. But my gears were turning and we were trying to figure out if it would work or not in the time frame we had available to us.

We also visited the Cayman Crystal Caves before and met up with the sweetest guide, Bunny, who showed us the caves and where he thought would be a great place to photograph. It was such a cool space to check out! Now, I knew we had a super limited amount of time to actually get there with models and lights and set up in between their tours which ran pretty much every 15 minutes or so, so I would need a plan ahead of time.

One of the best things about Angela is her level of trust in me. She had two other shoots to coordinate and produce and so I took the lead on scouting out the shoot locations and devising a plan. This spot was a must. I loved the opening at the top and the green hues in the rocks and felt like it fit the inspiration board we had for the shoot really well.

One of my favorite things to check out when I create images is the light. Light is everywhere and it can be so so beautiful! This cave looked darkish, but it photographed so well, and there was a cat!

The main attraction cave with the pool was a super small area to work in terms of setting up a photo shoot. The timing was tight and there was lighting obstacles to consider. I scoped. I saw. I was digesting. This was going to be fun!

Th sunsets on Grand Cayman are something to behold… I loved it and it helped me to relax and enjoy the time I had before my actual shoot. While my gears were going full blast in my head the whole time…

On the morning of the shoot we discovered that we had hours less time at the Caves to get done what we needed. No matter! I was going to make it work! So we caravanned the hour drive across the island to the Crystal Caves with models, assistants, stylists, editors, makeup and hair artists, and producers to get ‘er done!

Below: Setting up our model and putting on some finishing touches while I am getting my lights set up.

This nook was so DARK. I love the layers of cave texture here, and how nicely framed in all of it she was. This image was used in the magazine.

Bride in Galia Lehav wedding gown in the Crystal Caves in Grand Cayman

Credits for the look above / STAR GIRL:

Location: CAYMAN CRYSTAL CAVES / caymancrystalcaves.com

Gown: ‘GALA-1002’ GALA by Galia Lahav /gala.galialahav.com

Earrings and bracelet: TARA FAVA JEWELLERY / tarafavajewellery.com

Hair Pins: ‘Celestina’ $92 / BLAIR NADEAU BRIDAL ADORNMENTS / blairnadeau.com

Hair by Jackie Soriano / Makeup by Trina Biliti of Jackie Soriano / jackiesoriano.com

This little spot had my heart, and even though this particular image didn’t make the cut for the magazine, I loved playing around with different treatments to the image to see which one I liked the most. They all bring something different to the table for me! The image below is my standard treatment.

Bride in starry wedding gown in the Crystal Caves on Grand Cayman for Cayman Vows Magazine

A little grainier, less contrast. Black and white.

Deeper blacks and more contrast. I love the texture in the cave more in this one below.

My favorite, I think. The softer colors and contrast just feel good. The images feels entirely about her, her gown and the space, all in harmony.

This spot below was literally what my back was to when  I created the image above. So different!

Bride in Kleinfeld wedding gown at the Crystal Caves on Grand Cayman for Cayman Vows Magazine

HIDDEN TREASURE credits:

Gown: ‘Style 4636’ Pnina Tornai available at KLEINFELD BRIDAL / kleinfeldbridal.com

Earrings and bracelets: RITA TESOLIN / ritatesolin.com

Hair by Jackie Soriano / Makeup by Trina Biliti of JACKIE SORIANO / jackiesoriano.com

This spot was a doozy! We had to set up my light because it was literally in a cave, with zero natural light. The pool was lit from underneath and there were spot lights illuminating the caves but not anything we could work with. Plus, we had to work lightening FAST to get this done before the next tour group came through! I love the challenge of stuff like this and was ready to roll!

I loved this angle at first, until Angela pointed out that her leg looked really short and cut off at this angle. Yep. Correct! And so we swapped angles…

Bride in Pnina Tornai wedding gown in the Crystal Caves on Grand Cayman

Credits for GROTTO DREAMING:

Gown: ‘Style 4617’ Pnina Tornai / available at KLEINFELD BRIDAL / kleinfeldbridal.com

Hair Pins: ‘Anika’ $125 BLAIR NADEAU BRIDAL ADORNMENTS / blairnadeau.com

Earrings: CAROLE TANENBAUM VINTAGE COLLECTION / caroletanenbaum.com

Hair by Jackie Soriano / Makeup by Trina Biliti of JACKIE SORIANO / jackiesoriano.com

 

BAM. Done in about 40 seconds.

No matter how pressed for time we are, are we ever really too busy for a selfie? I think not!

A big part of the session was to not only highlight the gowns, the hair and makeup and the accessories but to also highlight the island of Grand Cayman. So many people to please with each image! But again, I love love love this stuff!

Credits for MOONBEAM:

Gown: ‘Style 4617’ Pnina Tornai / available at KLEINFELD BRIDAL / kleinfeldbridal.com

Hair Pins: ‘Anika’ $125 BLAIR NADEAU BRIDAL ADORNMENTS / blairnadeau.com

Earrings: CAROLE TANENBAUM VINTAGE COLLECTION / caroletanenbaum.com

Hair by Jackie Soriano / Makeup by Trina Biliti of JACKIE SORIANO / jackiesoriano.com

 

Bunny! Our amazing and helpful guide from the Crystal Caves! I liked this nook he was in, but then when I turned around I liked it even better. The rich greens of the cave made my heart sing! Also: we were now in a bat cave and bats were flying around. I was dying inside but kept my shit together because I had no choice and we had to get it done! Angela split because of the bats ha ha ha ha! (can’t say I blame her!)

Credits for STARDUST:

Gown: Riki Dalal / available at VALENCIENNE BRIDAL DESIGN / valencienne.com

Headpiece: TARA FAVA JEWELLERY / tarafavajewellery.com

Earrings: ‘Celestial Drops’ $36 BAUBLEBAR / baublebar.com

Hair by Jackie Soriano / Makeup by Trina Biliti of JACKIE SORIANO / jackiesoriano.com

After our Cave shoot we headed back to the Caribbean Club on Seven Mile Beach to prepare for our sunset shoot. We had a few hours to rest in between and so we did! I loved this look and it made the final magazine cut- but the black and white feels so nice too!

Credits for BEFORE SUNSET:

Gown: MARCHESA / marchesa.com

Headpiece: ‘Calliope’ $600 / THE LOVED ONE / thelovedone.ca

Earrings: ‘Dew Drop Etoile Stud’ $1,650 / ANZIE / anzie.com

Hair by Jackie Soriano / Makeup by Trina Biliti of JACKIE SORIANO / jackiesoriano.com

Credits for our COVER LOOK:

Location: Seven Mile Beach at THE CARIBBEAN CLUB / caribclub.com

Gown: ‘Gala-1007’ from GALA by Galia Lahav / gala.galialahav.com

Earrings: ‘Cleo Baguette Royal Studs’ $750 / ANZIE / anzie.com

Headpiece: ‘Christina’ $300 / BLAIR NADEAU ADORNMENTS / blairnadeau.com

Hair by Jackie Soriano / Makeup by Trina Biliti of JACKIE SORIANO / jackiesoriano.com

 

A reflector can make such a difference in an image! Here we just repurposed that rich, warm sunset light right back into our models face. I also used my Nikon D4 knowing how beautifully it can recover the shadow detail.

For the sunset section we had some twinkle lights we wanted to incorporate into it and I have to say we had so much fun with this!

Credits for TWINKLING TWILIGHT:

Gown: ‘Orion’ by WILLOWBY BY WATTERS / watters.com

Earrings: TALI’S DESIGNS / talihasaccessories.etsy.com

Bun pin: ‘Beyond the Stars’ $28 KITSCH / mykitsch.com

Ring: ANZIE / anzie.com

Hair by Jackie Soriano / Makeup by Trina Biliti of JACKIE SORIANO / jackiesoriano.com

And then we ended up in the water! Yes we did. I mean, so did I! I love the contrast of the warm twinkle lights against the cooler tones of the sunset. It felt magical!

Credits for BELLA LUNA:

Gown: VALENCIENNA BRIDAL DESIGN / valencienne.com

Earrings: ‘Elina’ $75 / BLAIR NADEAU ADORNMENTS / blairnadeau.com

Hair by Jackie Soriano / Makeup by Trina Biliti of JACKIE SORIANO / jackiesoriano.com

Camera right we have Lindsay holding my light and battery pack above the water- and I had these two splashing away, because I knew we could get a cool effect when the strobe light hit the water- it was hilarious testing it out. I was all ‘GUYS let’s work on your splash form!’ Who knew that could be a thing, but it really was!

 

But in the end, it was even more fun when she hit the water so perfectly with both hands that it came out in the shape of a heart!

 

And then… back to the bioluminescent area to see if we can get this last part of the shoot done! We have been up since sunrise since we had to be at the Caves, almost 45 minutes away, then back to the Caribbean Club, then back to the bioluminescence area over a hour away, but we were all up for it and caravanned over.

This was as far as we got before our poor model got stung by a jellyfish and we had to stop….so. Game over. In retrospect what I should have done was get all of the lighting perfected with a stunt double aka an assistant and then have the model tag in. But as they say, hindsight is 20/20! But also, maybe our assistant would have been stung too. So. Jellyfish 1, Us 0.

 

Me tagged OUT the very next day. Photo by Lindsay

FIN

 

Do you have a client that loves joyful and emotive work? Send them my way. Do you have a client who values connection, and storytelling? I would love to meet them! You can email me at info@carlateneyck.com I look forward to connecting with you!

For more styled shoots from Carla, click the links below featuring many #becauseofengage connections and partnerships!

Chatfield Hollow Styled Shoot with Everthine Bridal and my daughter Georgie

Copper Beech Inn Shoot for Bliss Celebrations Magazine and The White Dress by the Shore 

Styled Shoot at Lonesome Valley in Cashiers NC with Bliss Events Beth Chapman Styling

Fifties Inspired Shoot with Hive Events Whim Events and Hartford Prints

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